Blog Category: Competition

Avoid the 4 Traps of Predicting Technology Adoption

Avoid the 4 traps of technology prediction using jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) thinking that is informed by the voice of the customer. Image of a large door open to the future.

It’s natural to ruminate on the future; in particular, about technology adoption. What changes will future technology waves bring?  Will we ride them to riches or drown under the weight of disruption? A Danish proverb warns that “Prediction is dangerous, especially about the future.” A cycle of bad logic Unfortunately, when we theorize, we can ... Read More

Most suppliers expect to grow faster than their served markets. This is usually fanciful thinking.

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On average, you and your competitors will grow at the same rate as the markets you serve. Don’t feel entitled to this. If a competitor develops a blockbuster, you’ll be happy to minimize your sales decline. Thinking otherwise is like 1970’s Detroit auto-makers assuming Japanese competitors would keep producing junk.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 15).

Closing the “Customer Insight Gap” gives B2B suppliers a competitive edge. Not so much for B2C.

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B2C employees (e.g. Apple engineers) are consumers themselves, so they have high typical customer insight… but low potential insight, since consumers can’t easily predict what will entertain them. The gap between typical and potential insight when serving knowledgeable B2B customers is much larger. This is your competitive edge if you close the gap before competitors.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 13).

Ignore experts who want you to ignore your sales team during VOC interviews.

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Some voice-of-customer experts recommend you exclude your salesforce from interviews because “they can sell but not listen.” True sales professionals are actually great listeners: You just need to reward them for listening. Strengthen listening and learning by your entire team, and you’ll out-perform competitors who side-line their sales pros when gathering market insights.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B (page 24).

The most overlooked innovation practice? Understanding customers’ alternatives.

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Sure, the most important practice is understanding customer needs. But most overlooked? Few suppliers ask customers 1) for the most important, unsatisfied outcomes, 2) what test methods measure these outcomes, and 3) how satisfied customers are by various test results. Without these questions, you cannot properly assess competing alternatives.

More in article, Four Steps Needed for New Product Differentiation (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

Benchmarking for B2B Product Innovation

Benchmarking for B2B - Four Steps Needed for New Product Differentiation

While VOC is extremely important, the most overlooked practice in B2B product development today is competitive benchmarking. This should be done in the front-end of innovation using 4 steps: 1) Identify outcomes to benchmark, 2) Identify customers’ alternatives, 3) Identify test methods, and 4) Identify benchmark levels (how good is good enough?) ... Read More

Your goal should be to waste fewer innovation resources than competitors.

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Well, isn’t that inspirational? Perhaps not… but remember you’re in a constant battle with competitors to innovate for customers. One of the best ways to tip the “efficiency” balance in your favor is to consistently learn when projects are unattractive… before competitors. Then decisively kill them so resources can be used for winning projects.

More in article, Are You Maximizing Your Profits?